Deepika Kumari: Pressure of the Olympic rings is becoming a bit too much


India’s top-ranked archer Deepika Kumari has said that she needs to approach the Olympics from a different perspective to deliver desired results in future.

Deepika had entered the Olympics as the world no. 1 but lost in the quarterfinals of both the women’s individual and mixed team events. She, however, became the first Indian archer in history to make the quarters in the individual event.

Woh paanch ring ka pressure, haavi ho ja raha hai (the pressure of the five Olympic rings is becoming a bit too much),” Deepika told PTI in an interview.

Deepika said that she would focus on ‘enjoying the moment’ at the Olympics going forward rather then feeling the pressure.

“Everyone keeps saying we don’t have a medal, we don’t have a medal. We think of it a thousand times there, and it dominates our psyche. It’s a mental blockade and goes on affecting our techniques. It’s high time that I introspect into my game and see it in a different perspective now. There are certain things we are lacking too much. Basically we need to change the perspective of our games.”

Deepika had been in great form in the lead up to the Olympics, becoming only the sixth woman in history to win three recurve medals in a single edition of the World Cup in Paris in June.

“We’ve to see all games equally, be it World Cup, World Championships or the Olympics. But there we think too much about a medal. We have to take it easy and enjoy the moment. In the World Cup or World Championships too, the medal is the ultimate goal but we never keep thinking about it. But once we reach the Olympics, we are not able to get over the thoughts of winning a medal. We need to work on it,” she said.

Deepika also said that having a full-time psychologist with the team would help in dealing with pressure better. “It would have been a great help. We needed someone to boost ourselves morally,” she said.

Deepika will next be in action at next month’s World Cup Final after failing to make the team for the World Championships.

India will have a new look squad at next month’s Archery World Championships after none of the archers, who had participated at the Tokyo Olympics, could clear the selection trials held in Sonepat last week.

The women’s team for the Worlds includes Ankita Bhakat (23 years), Komalika Bari (19) and 17-year-old Ridhi Phor.

Deepika, who failed to make the cut at the trials after finishing fourth behind the uncapped Riddhi, said she’s excited about the challenge.

“Yes, it’s tough competition now. But it’s good and I’m always ready to match them. The tougher the competition, the better I become.

“To match the new generation, I’ve to put in double the effort. It gives me extra pressure and thrill, and I’m ready for the challenge,” she said.

Deepika also congratulated her fellow Indian medalists in Tokyo.

“It was such a proud moment to see Neeraj Chopra winning gold on the last day. It feels sad that we could not win a medal in archery, but it has been a remarkable performance by our fellow Indians. Many congratulations to them,” Deepika said.

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